Editor’s Note: Mallory Ervin wrote this Chasing the Crown blog during her sister Megan’s participation in the Miss America pageant. But now that Megan is back from her adventure, she wanted to write the final entry.
My experience in Vegas was absolutely a dream come true. As a little girl, I had this huge dream to compete on the Miss America stage – and at the time it seemed unobtainable and unrealistic.
Coming from a small town in central Illinois, I was often advised that while my dream was wonderful and inspirational, it also was a longshot.
But on June 30, 2012, my lifelong dream became a reality as I began my year-long journey as Miss Illinois. On Jan. 12, 2013, this journey became the “year of a lifetime” during the Miss America pageant finals, televised live on ABC.
My lifelong dream reached its full potential in an evening of bliss as my dream blossomed in front of America’s eyes. The vision of standing among the top 10 ladies on that national stage had been a recurring image in my mind not only for years, but vividly and daily for months.
While that night was a whirlwind that seems like an actual dream in my mind, I have distinct memories and moments from my time on stage that evening … moments that will forever be etched into my mind, but most importantly my heart.
The support that I received from small communities in central Illinois are like nothing I had ever experienced before. I could feel the love, encouragement and excitement all the way in Vegas. Almost everyone I met would say that “they so could tell I was a Chicago girl” and would ask me some of my “big city experiences,” and they were shocked when I told them just how BIG my hometown actually was and what my “roots” looked like.
I may have been the most “small-town girl” there, but I can attest to you all … I had the BIGGEST following and support system back here in Illinois. I think the support and “noise” that central Illinois in general made that week is a testament to the character and kind nature of these communities.
I will forever be grateful for this dream that God has graced me with, but most of all I will forever be grateful to my “roots” for making me who I am and supporting me every step of the way.
Miss Illinois 2012